Toronto’s nightlife is another aspect that can refute the city’s reputation for being colorless. This was greatly supported by the provincial government extending the serving hours to 2:00 am, while nightclubs and certain bars are often open until dawn. Night clubs charge admission, normal bars only if a group occurs. Some emphatically chic nightclubs do not let guests in with jeans and sneakers. Since it is a legal requirement in the province of Ontario that food must also be served in places where alcohol is served, the bars are just as well a place to eat. The legal age for the consumption of alcoholic beverages in Toronto is 19 years. Current information about club nights and live music can be found in the free,eye (Internet: www.eye.net) and NOW (Internet: www.nowtoronto.com).
The locals mostly go out on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, although there are also plenty of other nights out. The most popular bar and club area is located in the heart of the city center, west of the business district in the theater area around King and Queen Street. Bars and clubs with an Italian twist in Little Italy attract the cooler, slightly finer people who come for the pasta, the well-mixed drinks and the better music. Greektown has a plethora of Greek restaurants and bars that brighten up the darkest winter nights with a festive, Mediterranean feel, and there are bars where you can watch hockey and baseball games on TV over beer and fried chicken wings almost everywhere.
Although Toronto is best known as a city for doing business, it has a lot of local culture to offer interested visitors – ?? especially a thriving theater scene. Toronto is the city with the most theaters in the world after London and New York. Everything from expensive musical productions to experimental small productions is shown here.
Toronto’s role as the cultural capital of English-speaking Canada is also reflected in the performing arts. During the season, which usually runs from September to April, ballet troops, opera companies and symphony orchestras are well represented in the city.
In addition to the daily newspapers, the weekly, free magazines NOW (Internet: www.nowtoronto.com) and eye (Internet: www.eye.net) also provide event directories with important events and lesser-known performances by small theaters. Information about theater performances in the city is available from the Toronto Theater Alliance (tel: (416) 536 64 68. Internet: www.theatreintoronto.com), which represents over 100 local theater companies. Tickets to most cultural attractions can be purchased from Ticketmaster Canada (Tel: (416) 870 80 00. Internet: www.ticketmaster.ca). Tickets to the major musicals are available from TicketKing (Tel: (416) 872 12 12, (800) 461 3333. Internet: www.ticketking.com) or can be closed Tues.-Sat. from 12 noon to 7.30 p.m. directly at the TO
Caribana , hosted by the Caribbean Cultural Committee each summer in Toronto (Tel: (416) 465 48 84. Internet: www.caribana.com), is a festival of Caribbean culture and one of the largest cultural celebrations in North America, attended by thousands . It takes place in the last two weeks of July and offers parades, extravagant costumes, food and music. At the end of June, the Toronto Gay and Lesbian Pride Celebration is announced for a week, culminating in the Pride Day Parade (Internet: www.torontopride.com), one of the largest parades in the world.
Every summer, the JVC Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival (Internet: www.tojazz.com) also takes place, to which famous jazz performers from all over the world travel to play in the city’s concert halls and bars. The International Festival of Authors (Internet: www.readings.org), which is held every autumn in the Harbourfront Center, 235 Queens Quay West (Tel: (416) 973 3000), attracts local and foreign authors to readings, lectures, talks and an awards ceremony on. The Toronto International Film Festival is world famous ?? and the second largest in the world after Cannes.
It is also worth leaving the city for the two most important theater festivals. The Shaw Festival takes place in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Stratford Festival (Tel: (800) 567 16 00. Internet: www.stratfordfestival.ca) in Stratford, two hours’ drive south-west of Toronto. As the name suggests, the focus in Stratford is on Shakespeare’s works, but the repertoire also includes newer pieces by Canadian and internationally known playwrights such as Albee and Chekhov.
The Madison, 14 Madison Avenue, a kind of super pub, occupies four floors in a converted Victorian house.
Address: 14 Madison Avenue, Toronto
Very popular with local residents is the Rebel House, 1068 Yonge Street, which serves a wide range of beers and unusually good pub food.
Address: 1068 Yonge Street, Toronto
Excellent pilsner and dark beer can be sampled in the pubs of the local breweries, including Granite Brewery, 245 Eglinton Avenue East.
Address: 245 Eglinton Avenue East, Toronto
Steam Whistle Brewing Company
Excellent pilsner and dark beer can be tasted in the bars of the local breweries, including the Steam Whistle Brewing Company, 255 Bremner Boulevard.
Address: 255 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto
Bar Italia, 582 College Street, in Little Italy is a chic, modern cocktail bar with reasonable prices and delicious pasta and attracts an attractive crowd at the weekend.
Address: 582 College Street, Toronto
The Rivoli, 332 Queen Street West, has slightly more alternative guests and serves so-called fusion food on one side of the bar (a combination of different culinary influences) and cocktails on the other, while concerts, club nights and cabaret take place in the back of the bar. A large billiard room is located on the upper floor.
Address: 332 Queen Street West, Toronto
Gypsy Co-op, 817 Queen Street West, is a bar / lounge / restaurant during the day and a nightclub in the evening.
Address: 817 Queen Street West, Toronto
One of the friendliest gay bars in Toronto is the extremely lively Woody’s, 465 Church Street.
Address: 465 Church Street, Toronto
You can feel the nation’s hockey obsession at Wayne Gretzky’s, 99 Blue Jays Way. This bar belongs to one of the world’s best ice hockey players and is a memorial to his success on the ice.
Address: 99 Blue Jays Way, Toronto
Many of the city’s largest and most famous clubs are located on Richmond Street. Whiskey Saigon, 250 Richmond Street West, illuminated with neon lights and glaring lights, is one of the oldest nightclubs and has a salon and rooftop terrace.
Address: 250 Richmond Street West, Toronto
Roxy Blu, 12 Brant Street, is known for modern rhythm & blues and for occasionally flying famous DJs into the city.
Address: 12 Brant Street, Toronto
A young, trend-conscious audience feels at home in Turbo, 360 Adelaide Street West, because of the electronic music, trance and breakbeats.
Address: 360 Adelaide Street West, Toronto
The Ciao Edie, 489 College Street, is decorated in retro funk style.
Address: 489 College Street, Toronto
A very casual place is the Fluid Lounge, 217 Richmond Street West.
Address: 217 Richmond Street West, Toronto
On the eastern outskirts is the Guvernment, 132 Queens Quay East, a huge former warehouse that is equipped with an extremely loud music system.
Address: 132 Queens Quay East, Toronto
Gay and lesbian clubs are scattered around Church and Wellesley Street; one of the largest complexes spans three floors and houses The Barn, 418 Church Street.
Address: 418 Church Street, Toronto
A popular gay and lesbian club is Club Stables, 418 Church Street.
Address: 418 Church Street, Toronto
The rough, down-to-earth Horseshoe Tavern, 370 Queen Street West, was the first location for the British band The Police in America and is the best place in town to hear new rock groups.
Address: 370 Queen Street West, Toronto
At Massey Hall, 178 Victoria Street, almost every music genre – ?? Jazz, classical, rock – performed. International dance troops also perform here.
Address: 178 Victoria Street, Toronto
Rex Jazz and Blues Bar
The Rex Jazz and Blues Bar, 194 Queen Street West, has a more casual atmosphere.
Address: 194 Queen Street West, Toronto
Montreal Bistro and Jazz Club
The Montreal Bistro and Jazz Club at 65 Sherbourne Street has a more casual atmosphere.
Address: 65 Sherbourne Street, Toronto
Roy Thomson Hall
The Toronto Symphony is the leader among the many classical music ensembles that play at Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe Street.
Address: 60 Simcoe Street, Toronto
National Ballet of Canada
The National Ballet of Canada is the country’s best known dance company and is based in Toronto at the Four Seasons Center for the Perfoming Arts, 145 Queen Street West. Her most popular stage show is the annual Christmas production by The Nutcracker.
Address: 145 Queen Street West, Toronto
Telephone: (416) 345 96 86
One of the best places for Canadian and international contemporary dance is the Harbourfront Center, 235 Queens Quay West.
Address: 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto
Telephone: (416) 973 40 00
The Second City
Toronto is probably home to the most famous comedy club chain in North America: The Second City, 56 Blue Jays Way. This club is particularly important for pop culture as it had its golden years in the late 1970’s. Here you could experience the start of the career of today’s Hollywood greats such as Dan Aykroyd (Blues Brothers), Mike Myers (Austin Powers) and Martin Short (Three Amigos).
Address: 56 Blue Jays Way, Toronto
Telephone: (416) 343 00 11
Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Cabaret
The supposedly largest comedy performance venue on the North American continent is Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Cabaret, 2335 Yonge Street.
Address: 2335 Yonge Street, Toronto
Telephone: (416) 967 64 25
Royal Alexandra Theater
Musicals and occasionally serious plays are performed in the Royal Alexandra Theater, 260 King Street West, an old, spacious theater from 1907. The venue is managed by Mirvish Productions.
Address: 260 King Street West, Toronto
Princess of Wales Theater
Popular productions are staged at the 300 King Street West Princess of Wales Theater, generally showing major West End productions from London and Broadway shows on tour. The venue is managed by Mirvish Productions.
Address: 300 King Street West, Toronto
The well-maintained Canon Theater, 263 Yonge Street, in the exquisite twenties style, has been the venue for the musical Phantom of the Opera in Toronto for many years and is now part of Mirvish Productions.
Address: 263 Yonge Street, Toronto
Poor Alex Theater
To get to know the local scene better, head to Poor Alex Theater, 296 Brunswick Avenue, the best venue for new, experimental theater.
Address: 296 Brunswick Avenue, Toronto
Telephone: (416) 923 16 44
New Canadian plays are performed primarily at Tarragon Theater, 30 Bridgman Avenue.
Address: 30 Bridgman Avenue, Toronto
Telephone: (416) 531 18 27
St Lawrence Center for the Performing Arts
Many modern Canadian plays and productions are performed at the St Lawrence Center for the Performing Arts, 27 Front Street East, by the Canadian Stage Company located there.
Address: 27 Front Street East, Toronto
Telephone: (416) 366 77 23 (Center); (416) 368 31 10 (Stage Company)
Du Maurier Theater
The Du Maurier Theater, Harbourfront Center, 235 Queens, is located on the lakeshore. It was built as an ice house in the 1920s, but was converted into a modern theater in 1992 and today performs musicals and plays.
Address: 235 Queens Quay West, Toronto
Telephone: (416) 954 51 99
Music and dance
Sony Center for the Performing Arts
The Sony Center for the Performing Arts, 1 Front Street East, is the largest multi-purpose facility in the country, which also houses the Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet of Canada, as well as numerous touring troops.
Address: 1 Front Street East, Toronto